The Workshop on Natural Resource Agreements and Development will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 in the Faculty Conference Room of the Law School. This event will gather a group of experts from practice and academia to discuss the many tiers of agreements that precede and underlie natural resource extraction projects. We will focus on the role these agreements play in allocating the risks and potential benefits and harms of natural resource projects. In particular, we will aim to understand how the various agreements that establish natural resource extraction projects can increase the likelihood that projects will be environmentally and socially sound, such that they contribute to human dignity and sustainable development.
We are organizing this Workshop to provide a forum that recognizes that contracts and other agreements, when well designed, can ensure that the benefits of natural resources are shared among all interested populations. Profit sharing arrangements, taxation provisions, and royalty provisions have significant impact on the long term benefits of a project for the landowners, communities and countries that host mining operations. Similarly, ex-ante negotiations and the agreements that memorialize them are vitally important in allocating risks among interested stakeholders. These agreements can establish grievance processes and remedies that must be granted to interested stakeholders in the event that a project runs into any number of difficulties, from expropriation, to environmental or human harms resulting from the operation. While litigation may be an effective tool for victims seeking redress, well negotiated and drafted agreements can and do serve to alter the outcomes of such litigation.
There has been insufficient attention to the role that ex-ante negotiations and agreements play in securing good outcomes for host countries and communities. This Workshop aims to make a significant contribution to the existing work on this very important topic.